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Sources of Public Domain Photos for your Photo Book 


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Here are some of my notes. 

If you have further sources of high res public domain photos please e-mail me at daniel@opusalbums.com


Please excuse the messy layout - the input came from a number of sources and time prevented tidying it up.

The best source is from Tony Laidig.  To get his list you must subscribe to

 Tony Laidig ’s Public Domain Codebook

However you can get a good list – including many of Tony’s sources simply by googling “Public domain photos”.   You will see that I have done just that – to start with.

But then when you look at the sites

  1. Not all are relevant.
  2. Many are showing low resolution shots so that you will pay for a medium or high resolution one
  3. The sites are listed randomly.
  4. Some is just clip art

So I’ve taken the Google list – gone to though each site to see what sort fo quality the public domain photos are, deleted any site, and organised.

But then you get a lot

Tests for Public Domain

A photograph could be in the public domain in the US for any of the following reasons:

  • The photo was created by the U.S. government.
  • The photo lacks a copyright notice and was published before 1989.
  • The photo’s copyright has expired.
  • The photo is not eligible for copyright protection.
  • The photo has been dedicated to the public domain.

General Sources

·  Wikimedia Commons

Animations · Diagrams · Drawings · Maps (Atlas) · Paintings · Photos · Symbols ... Copyright statuses · Creative Commons licenses · GFDL · Public domain ...
I’ve included this one because of the extensiveness of its coverage.  Most pictures thought are of lower resolution

commons.wikimedia.org/ -

www.public-domain-photos.com 5000 Free Stock Photos

All photos on this web site are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial

www.public-domain-photos.com/ -


·  PD Photo - Free Photos And Pictures (public domain, stock pictures ...

PDPhoto.org is a repository for free public domain photos. Unless something is clearly marked as being copyrighted, you can assume it is free to use. ...
www.pdphoto.org/ -

·  Photos8 - Public Domain Photos and Wallpapers

This is a place for free public domain photos and desktop wallpapers. Large collection of High Resolution photos and wallpapers, Thousands of high quality images
www.photos8.com/ -  -  -

·  PublicDomainPictures.net , Free Pictures, Royalty Free Stock Photos

Home for Public Domain Pictures. Free for private and commercial use – generally poor resolution
www.publicdomainpictures.net/ -  

·  FreePhotos.se - Free & Public Domain Photos

Personal photographic collection dedicated to the public domain. All photographs on this site are royalty-free; free for any use, with no restrictions

- some nice ones – reasonable resolution
www.freephotos.se/ -

·  BurningWell.Org - Free Public Domain Images and Photos

22 Apr 2006 ... BurningWell is a repository for public domain images. – Good high resolution if not the biggest range.



· Pics4Learning is a great website full of photographs donated by amateur photographers and teachers to help  improve  curriculum. 


·  4FreePhotos is another site that offers quite a few artistic high quality images.

· Zorger.com Free public domain images, public domain photos, clip art

Free public domain images, public domain art, illustrations, scans, photographs, and cartoons. Older pictues – often line drawings
public-domain.zorger.com/ -

·  Welcome to Public Domain Images - PDimages.com

Browse a catalog of FREE downloadable visuals, and find out how inexpensive it is to get the pictures and videos you need for your projects.
www.pdimages.com/ -


George Eastman House

George Eastman House is a museum dedicated to the origins of photography (Eastman founded Kodak). Though most photos are copyright-free, giving credit where the photographer can be identified is always a class act.


US Government Sources

·  NOAA Public Image Library is a wonderful resource for science themed drawings, maps, graphics, diagrams, and photos.  The database is extensive. 

·  Uncle Sam's Photos - Stock Photo Collections

A selection of good resolution pictures from Government sources – general interest.

UncleSamsPhotos.com - A directory of the US Government's free stock photo sites.
www.unclesamsphotos.com/ -  -  -


·  The Best Copyright-Free Photo Libraries: - DotGovWatch Exposing ...

More links to Government photos on USA.gov. High Res Photos
www.dotgovwatch.com/index.php?/archives/8...Photo... -

The Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian has large digital files available, so you can make fairly large prints (sometimes up to 11″x14″). The majority of photos have no known copyright restrictions, so you can do as you please with them.

The New York Public Library

The images that the NYPL has uploaded to Flickr’s Commons have no known copyright restrictions,

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA makes its images available for educational and scientific purposes, so don’t go trying to make money off of them, and be sure to credit NASA if you use the photos in print or online




·  How to identify public domain photos on Flickr :: Free Tech ...

9 Apr 2008 ... Free Tech Support on How to identify public domain photos on Flickr from Dave Taylor.
www.askdavetaylor.com/how_to_identify_public_domain_creative_commons_photos_flickr.html -  -  -

·  Flickr to host Library of Congress photos | Underexposed - CNET News

16 Jan 2008 ... In a pilot project announced Wednesday, the government archive put the public-domain, copyright-free photos on the Library of Congress ...
news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-9852087-39.html -  -  


Netherlands National Archives




How to identify public domain photos on Flickr

like ref: http://www.david-turner.net/



Dave's Answer:

One of the few really savvy moves that Yahoo made in the last few years (in my opinion, at least) was the acquisition of Flickr and the fact that it's a repository of publicly reusable Web sites is just another cool thing.

Now, to be clear, "public domain" is inaccurate. What Flickr has instead is the Creative Commons License, and some photographers have identified their images as acceptable to republish, and others have gone further and said that it's okay to republish them even on a commercial site or withing a commercial context.

It's pretty darn important to toe that legal line too, actually. You can just pop over to Google Images and rummage around with a half-dozen savvy searches to copy images without permission, but it's much smarter -- and more on the right side of copyright law -- to identify legally usable images so you don't get into trouble down the road...

And so, let's pop over to Flickr and check out their advanced search window. To get there, click on "Search", then click on "Advanced Search" just adjacent to the Search button:

Flickr Simple Search

Click on "Advanced Search", as I said, and you'll now see this:

Flickr Advanced Search

That's not what you want, though, other than to type in a keyword or two in the main search box. What you want to do is scroll to the bottom of this page, where it has the "Creative Commons" fields:

Flickr : Search for Creative Commons licenses

That's what we want: check both "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed photos" and (this is the key!) "Find content to use commercially".

For example, a search for Creative Commons licensed, commercially usable photos on Flickr that have the keyword "ipod" produces over 9,900 images that can be legally, safely and easily added to your Web site. For example, here are two I saw there that I particularly liked:

Flickr Creative Commons image: iPod(s)

Flickr Creative Commons image: Tele-tubbies on iPod

Image by cdharrison

Image by re-ality

As you can see, Flickr is an extraordinary, massive repository of images and photos that you can indeed use on your blog, even if it's commercial in nature, without paying a dime in license fees.

·  Flickr: The Library of Congress' Photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/ -

·  Flickr: Collection: Public Domain Collection (Government Sources)

www.flickr.com/photos/pingnews/.../72157600007938726/ -  -  -

On Flikr base, low resolution older pictures with no known copyright restrictions

There are many more sources in Flickr

Public Domain Sounds

MusOpen offers free mp3 files of classical instrumental and vocal music.  Definitely bookmark this one. Supporting units: music, composers, history, and background sounds for multimedia projects

PublicDomain4U is full of vintage recordings.  Supporting units: jazz, blues, country, folk songs, World War I

Sound Jay has become very popular in our district this spring for our video and podcast projects.  With a well designed layout and excellent choices of sound and music, you can’t go wrong. Supporting Units: weather, business, FACS, and backgrounds for podcast projects

Soungle has an amazing amount of sound effects for student projects.  These save as .wav files, which work great in most audio and video softwares such as Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Audacity, and Garage Band.  Supporting units: weather, emotions, dance, animals, water, and special effect sounds for podcasts.

Some would suggest www.freeplaymusic.com but their licensing does not allow the use of their music used in podcasts or on blogs without a prior agreement. 

Source http://mrssmoke.onsugar.com/3152550

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